Exxon, Chevron paid no tax in Aust in 2016

Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp paid no tax in Australia in the 2016 financial year, the third year in a row, despite reporting billions of dollars in income from operations in the country, a report from the tax office shows.

Exxon Mobil, which has oil and gas production in the Bass Strait and a stake in the Gorgon LNG project among other assets in Australia, reported $6.7 billion in income but it reported a loss for taxable income and paid no tax, similar to the previous two years.

Exxon said it had no taxable income as it has invested nearly $18 billion during the past few years on major projects including Gorgon and the Kipper Tuna Turrum field.

"As these multi-billion investments were completed in 2017 and have started production, the amount of tax paid by ExxonMobil Australia is anticipated to increase significantly," said Travis Parnaby, a spokesman for the oil major.

Chevron reported $2.1 billion in income for 2016 and paid no tax, while Shell Energy Holdings Australia - a unit of Royal Dutch Shell - reported $4.2 billion in income and $97 million in taxable income but paid no tax.

Chevron, operator of the Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG projects, said it expected to pay significant taxes once those projects were running at full tilt.

Shell is also a partner in Gorgon LNG.

The Australian Taxation Office started requiring big companies to disclose their tax payments two years ago in a push to curb alleged tax avoidance.

Top global miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto and the oil and gas giants have been accused of shifting income to countries such as the Netherlands and Singapore, where tax rates are lower.

A probe by the Senate into corporate tax avoidance that began in 2014 was extended this week and is due to issue a final report by the end of May 2018.